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Episode 16: Feng Shui and Evidence-Based Design

IA Interior Architects' workplace in Toronto. Photo by Tom Arban.
IA Interior Architects’ workplace in Toronto. Photo by Tom Arban.

How feng shui can support health and wellness in commercial interiors with IA Managing Principal Beverly Horii, OAA, ARIDO, LEED AP.

PrintIt’s not a superstition.

Developed thousands of years ago in China, feng shui is actually one of the earliest instances of evidence-based design. I started learning about it when I was looking for ways to support health and wellness in my work. It’s about living in harmony with the natural environment, and today those principles are adopted to more urban environments.

It’s naturally empirical.

My architectural training taught me to consider how the sun rotates around a building but I wanted to consider the energies of a space. Feng shui integrates cardinal points, sun locations, how it moves through interiors of a space. I always talk about how the moon and gravity has a profound effect of waves and physiological cycles. It is really permeates the every day.

In the classical model, there are two ways to evaluate a room or space.

The first is to look at forms and shapes of a room. The second is more technical and uses cardinal points—North, East, South, West—to see where rooms and people face, and where celestial bodies are at the time of construction. One you can do through observation, while the other requires someone who is trained to look at a space and consider corners and edges, or cutting points or cutting edges. If you look at any corner, those energies are purported to affect people next to them.

We’ve looked at how we can apply this for clients.

If we’re working in an existing space, we complete the evaluation and can inform the selection of a materials palette. It’s also good to understand from a form point of view, so we don’t have harsh corners affecting people seated in front of them for long periods of time.

Interested in learning more about feng shui and commercial interiors? Attend Horii’s seminar at IIDEX in Toronto, on Thursday, December 1. 

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